Let's discuss why you should be lifting weights, TODAY, not tomorrow. Are you stuck in a rut at the gym, tired of sweating all over your Stairmaster, while the scale doesn’t move a decimal? Grab a kettlebell, TRX, dumbbell or barbell! Pumping iron burns 40% more fat and expedites your metabolism, so you can stand in front of the mirror nakie, and not screech in terror!
The gym is plenteous with women scrambling to sculpt that last 10 pounds, which seems hopeless. Women are eternally stuck in every group fitness class, in undisrupted amore with their favorite cardio equipment, yet their workouts are not effective, and they cannot lose weight. In all my years working in NYC and San Francisco gyms, there would be just a few brave women at the gym who dare to cross what seems like uncharted waters, into strength training territory, and guess who looks toned and athletic, strutting around the locker room? The weightlifting woman!
I’m not saying to ditch your cardio, keep stepping on your Stairmaster, and running about 3-4 times per week. Incorporate strength training into this routine for about 30-60 minutes 4-6 times a week, to see the results you want, ahem, Hayden Panettiere’s body anyone? Why are women STILL scared to “bulk up?” You cannot bulk up as a woman unless you are supplementing with testosterone and munching meals 10 times per day. I promise, I train 5x a week and do cardio 2-4 times per week, am I bulky, heck no!
The body of your dreams, whether it’s Cameron Diaz’s abs or Jennifer Aniston’s arms, can be achieved through strength training! I’m going to highlight the benefits of strength training and explain why it is crucial for weight loss.
What happens when you lift weights?
When you lift weights, you are creating tiny tears in your muscle fibers. This accelerates a process called muscle-protein synthesis that uses amino acids to restore the fibers and reinforce them, making them resistant to future damage. When a muscle fiber is exposed to a frequent challenge (regularly lifting weights,) it makes a structural adaptation to handle the challenge. You build muscle by your muscle adapting to the stimuli you give it, hence you get stronger! One pound of muscle burns approximately 6-10 calories per day at rest. 2 training sessions per week decrease body fat percentage by 3 points in just 10 weeks if followed up with correct diet and cardio.
Why do we lift weights?
In short, strength training increases your calorie burn long after you stop working out. But that doesn't mean those 3-pound dumbbells are going to cut it. According to a study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine, people who grab heavier weights and aim for shorter breaks between bouts of lifting increase their metabolic burn by up to 452 calories over the next 24 hours. People who used lighter weights and took longer breaks burned only 98 additional calories over the same period.
How strength training changes your life
1. You lose 40% more fat! Lifters lose pure fat while cardio junkies lose muscle and fat. People who exercise and do not lift weights for their weight loss plan, lose muscle along with their fat, making it more likely they will gain it back.
2. Burn fat while at rest. Your muscles need energy to repair themselves, your metabolism is elevated 39-42 hours after a training session. One circuit of strength training can incinerate 159-231 calories in 8 minutes! That is the equivalent of running for about 20 minutes...boring!
3. Keeping your body looking young and gorgeous! When you age, your fast-twitch muscle fibers decrease by 50%, slow-twitch muscle fibers decrease 25%. Using those fibers in training (explosive movements for fast-twitch muscle fibers,) will strengthen your muscles, keep bones strong and your tendons supported so you can get off your rocker and not fall over when you’re 59!
4. Cut your risks for certain diseases such as diabetes, cancer and not to mention, cut your risk of stroke by 40% (by reducing diastolic blood pressure by 8 points). As you can see there are so many amazing benefits to adding weight lifting to your routine!
The Calorie After Burn Effect (EPOC)
Although you might see a large calorie burn while you are performing cardio during those 30 killer minutes, pumping iron gives your body an after-burning, which scorches calories 24/7. A study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who completed an hour-long strength-training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than they did when they hadn’t lifted weights. At three sessions a week, that’s 15,600 calories a year, or about four and a half pounds of fat—without having to move a muscle.
In a study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women burned nearly twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout when they lifted 85 percent of their max load for eight reps than when they did more reps (15) at a lower weight (45 percent of their max).
Each pound of muscle burns 6-8 calories per day, while fat burns 2. Muscle is metabolically active. In English: Muscle is fueled up by calories even when you’re not in the gym. Replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of lean muscle and you’ll burn an additional 25 to 50 calories a day without even trying.
Ditch the scale! Muscle is much denser than fat. It takes the same amount of weight, but can't fit more compactly. So this means, less fat and more shape while you drop dress sizes.
Why you need protein to builds muscle:
Protein is often called the building block of life. Why? Because muscle is primarily made up of protein. It’s in every cell of your body and it wouldn’t be possible for your body to repair cells, let alone grow new ones, without it. According to Healthline "High protein intake can help you gain muscle mass and strength while reducing muscle loss during weight loss." Besides repairing tissue, protein is an important component of your bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Even your hair and nails are mostly made of protein! Proteins create enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals, and you need to give your body a consistent supply. The trick is, unlike fats and carbohydrates, your body does not store protein. This means you need to eat it regularly to stay healthy and maintain your lean muscle mass.
How much protein to eat per day is dependent on your fitness level and weight. When you work with a personal trainer, like myself or any of my trainers, they can help you to determine exactly how much protein you should be eating per day in accordance with your goals. Look for sources of high-quality protein, like vegan protein powders, grass-fed and free-range meats, wild fish, beans, seeds, and whole grains.
Fun fact: Beans contain more protein than any other vegetable source. Plus, they are loaded with fiber which helps you stay full for hours.
What to eat pre-workout:
What you eat before your workout is very important because your body will use that food as fuel to give you energy to workout and it will also help you to perform better. If you workout without anything in your stomach, you're going to be operating with low glucose levels in your blood, which can cause you to pass out or vomit. Think of your body as a car, it needs gasoline to run. I recommend eating a homemade granola bar or something containing complex carbohydrates such as a piece of sprouted grain toast and peanut butter 30 minutes to an hour before a workout.
What to eat post-workout:
Don’t skip your post-workout meal! This is just as important as your pre-workout meal. When you fuel your body post-workout, you are helping to decrease muscle breakdown and increase muscle growth. This meal should be high in protein and include complex carbs such as almonds and fruits, or a protein bar to refuel and restore your body.
How to avoid overtraining:
This part is important especially if you are just getting started with your new fitness routine. “Overtraining” is when you’re not properly programming your workouts. For example, taking a spin class Monday, then doing a tough leg workout Tuesday, then going on a long run Wednesday, followed by another Spin class Thursday. You want each muscle group to have time to rest between sweat sessions. This is why hiring a personal trainer can really benefit your weight loss and fitness goals as you’ll ensure you’re working out the correct muscle groups on the correct days.
Overtraining symptoms are; decreased performance, so not able to move as fast or able to move your body for the same length of time as it usually moves, body fatigue, or chronic soreness that doesn’t seem to recover. Stress hormones will increase, causing moodiness and cortisol levels to rise.
Navigating a new healthy lifestyle, and especially weight lifting, can be tricky at times - If you need personal support from me and my team of trainers with help creating a personalized workout plan, then send me a message and we will make it happen. We are here for you!